Anti-Israel protests spread antisemitism, attacks on media

Chilling cries of “Long live intifada” and “From the River to the Sea” rang out across North America and Europe this weekend, as demonstrators called for the destruction of the Jewish state while rocket sirens blared in Israel and thousands of Israeli families headed for bomb shelters.

From Los Angeles to Brooklyn and in Berlin, Brussels, Paris, London, and Athens, thousands marched down highways, climbed buildings and statues, and descended on Israeli consulates, vilifying Israel’s efforts to defend its citizens. Since Monday, nearly 3,000 rockets have been fired on Israeli towns and cities from neighboring Gaza, which is ruled by the Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas.

On Saturday, antisemitic protesters in Brussels chanted “Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud” or “Jews, remember the Chaibar, Mohammed’s army will come back” – a reference to a battle in which the Prophet Mohammed and his armies decimated a Jewish community in the year 628 that has become an Islamist battle cry against Jews.

“This chant is unacceptable in our country, it is undignified that every year they incite to war against the Jews in the streets of Brussels,” said Yohan Benizri, President of the Coordination Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium (CCOJB).

In Berlin, crowds of young Arab men and far-left demonstrators shouted similar chants and calls in Arabic for "armed resistance," boycotts of Israel, and bombs in Tel Aviv. Cardboard signs denied Israel’s right to exist. Demonstrators also were instructed not to speak to journalists working for the "Zionist press.”

After an anti-Israel protest in 2014 devolved into a hate-filled attack on a German synagogue, German police this time increased security around synagogues and other Jewish buildings and dispatched interpreters to the demonstrations to monitor hate speech. But they lost control of the situation for several hours. Demonstrators threw a firecracker at an Israeli journalist covering the protests and placed a firework under the feet of a German journalist. Rocks, bottles, and fireworks and other objects were thrown at police.

In an isolated incident in London, an antisemite drove through Jewish neighborhoods waving Palestinian flags through an open sunroof while broadcasting calls for Jewish women to be raped in broad daylight. London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the language and pledged his support for law enforcement strategies to tackle it. “Behaviour that incites anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim hatred has no place in our city,” he tweeted.

In France, the French Ministry of Interior banned all protests in Paris. Minister Gerald Darmanin said he didn’t want to see protesters calling for “death to Jews” in the streets as they did during Israel’s conflict with Hamas in 2014. Demonstrators still gathered, in some cases attacking police. More than 50 arrests were made with hundreds more fined.

Source: AJC